DALLAS — After more than a year of unemployment, a frustrated Sonja Funakura is now offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can land her a permanent job.
She has $500 saved and a friend offered to give the other $500.
"It's based on if I get a job offer, Funakura, 51, explained. "I figure the worst case scenario, I'll give them my first paycheck. Literally. That's better than going another year like this."
Funakura is a financial analyst and has worked as an accountant, but got laid off more than a year ago.
After fifteen months of searching, e-mailing hundreds of resumes, and landing only one job interview, Funakura came up with the idea of a $1,000 reward on June 30.
"I was just sitting there thinking 'Money talks. Money really talks,'" she said.
Funakura even advertised her scheme online in the Fort Worth Weekly.
For older Americans like Funakura, it is much harder to find a job.
Unemployed people who are 55 or older have been out of work, on average, for 29.5 weeks, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's significantly longer than other age groups, statistics reveal. Plus, a recent study by Rutgers University shows most people who lost a job last summer still haven't found one this summer.
Funakura said she has already cut back on everything. She hasn't bought clothes or perfume in two years. Though she enjoys it, Funakura said she only mows her large lawn sparingly in order to save gas.
"I have really thought, maybe it would be a relief to be on the streets with my just dog because the worrying of it," she confessed. "How much more can you cut back? I don't live in a fancy place."
What's worse, her unemployment runs out in two weeks, and Funakura's $50,000 in savings is long gone.
"I don't have anything left," she said. "I sold my mineral rights on my land."
On Facebook, Funakura offered to do yard work or haul off trash for free, just to feel productive until someone claims her $1,000 reward and helps her rejoin the workforce.
To contact Sonja Funakura, e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org